Miguel Paludo earned his second top-10 finish of 2012 at Michigan International Speedway in his debut pairing with new crew chief Jeff Hensley. Paludo ran in the top-five for most of the second half of the 100-lap event before varying pit strategy resulted in a 10th-place finish in the VFW 200.
After leading the second of the weekend's three practice sessions, Paludo laid down a qualifying lap of 39.216 seconds, putting the No. 32 Chevrolet third on the grid for the green flag. Despite the 200 miles of action ahead, the racing was dicey from the first lap, and an aero-tight condition dropped Paludo to seventh by lap three. On lap 10, the Brazilian radioed Hensley to inform him that his truck was coming to him as the field began to spread out. The first caution flag of the day came on lap 14 for debris, and Hensley called Paludo onto pit road for a quick top-off of Sunoco race fuel before the Duroline machine took the lap 17 restart from eighth.
Over the course of the next 20 laps, Paludo and teammate James Buescher drafted together, hovering around the 10th spot before the second yellow of the race was displayed on lap 39. Paludo brought his truck into the pits for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment to correct what remained of his tight handling. Knowing that fuel mileage historically came into play at the 2.0-mile track, Hensley called his driver back to pit road to top off on fuel before the lap 43 restart.
Paludo took the lap 43 green in 22nd, and when the caution flag waved just five laps later for a spin, he had shot through the field up to 14th. Paludo told his crew chief that the No. 32 Chevy was much better, especially in traffic, and by the time two more back-to-back cautions passed, the driver had worked his way into the top-five. After the green flag waved on lap 60 in what ultimately would be the final restart of the day, Paludo took over the fourth position and maintained it until it was time for a green-flag pit stop on lap 84. The Duroline crew quickly serviced the No. 32 with two right-side tires and fuel, but with a handful of trucks on differing fuel strategy without the need to pit, he was unable to advance beyond 10th before the checkered flag fell. Fellow Brazilian and Turner Motorsports teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. took the win, capturing the first victory of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career.
Miguel Paludo: "This was a great day for my guys and I. The Duroline Chevrolet was in the top-five for much of the day and we just lost out on fuel strategy at the end. It felt good to earn a top-ten and to have such a strong day in my first race with Jeff Hensley. It makes me very motivated and hopeful about the final 10 races. We only have a few days until Bristol, so I know that we can keep this momentum until then. I'm extremely happy for my teammate, and I hope that the No. 32 team will be the next Turner Motorsports truck to visit victory lane."
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has only four days before it hits the track again for Wednesday night's NCWTS 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22nd.
Turner Motorsports PR